Raids on Human Consciousness: Writing, Anarchism, and Violence
However one looks at violence -- as an instrument of bureaucracy or ideology; as a product of racial, gender, or class antagonisms; or as the inevitable result of power politics -- it is an integral part of every social system and is one of the most pressing problems of our tortured century.
In Raids on Human Consciousness Arthur Redding examines the contention that violence, be it the mass product of revolutionary uprising or a private sadomasochistic indulgence, may be taken to instill in those who commit it the capacity for radical change.
Conscious that mainstream theory considers violence deviant, a departure from the normal equilibrium of social and aesthetic structures, while other critiques take it to be integral to any dynamic system, Redding begins with the anarchist inquiry into the relationship of violence to the imaginary representation of modern communities. He explores the "public images" of anarchism in literature and popular culture and emphasizes the diverse strategies by which modern writers encounter, derive, deflect, and manipulate fantasies of political violence.
Redding recognizes that language fails when confronted with the extreme suffering of human bodies. Acknowledging that flesh is subject to war, torture, and everyday brutality -- violations to which language can never do justice -- he nonetheless finds it urgent to reclaim language on the far side of suffering.
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Some of the foundations of anarchist philosophy — their faith in the innate
goodness of man , their belief in the possibility of ultimate individual liberty — are
in themselves imaginative conceptions , mythical rather than materialist in form ,
In prison , my imagination soared . I told myself stories . Like this one . ( Empire
148 ) I have said that the fetish “ anchors ” the masochist fantasy , entrenches it
as significant — but anchors aweigh : the fetish is not the foundation of a static ...
formation of one ' s sexual identity , she offers no consolation for the masochistic
havoc wreaked upon the sexual imagination by an unjust patriarchy . Bartky ,
despite her condemnation of liberalism , holds out nothing more than a